What is SSML?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2019
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Speech Synthesis Markup Language or SSML is one of three types of markup language used to create voice enabled functionality with Internet browsers and email programs. Sometimes used as a stand-alone approach, SSML is also sometimes used in tandem with Spoken Text Marketup Language (STML) and Java Speech Markup Language (JSML). The ultimate goal of SSML is to provide applications that allow persons to use voice commands with various online tasks such as searching the Internet, receiving and responding to emails, and enjoying the content of various web sites.

Speech synthesis applications using SSML are commonly utilized with interactive telephony applications, especially online. This type of XML-based markup language allows for excellent sound clarity while also ensuring the audio signal produced is concise and free of any translation issues. While not necessarily the most popular option with offline telephony applications, SSML can be utilized with point to point connections that are not carried over the Internet.

Another common application of SSML has to do with the creation of audio books. Using speech synthesis software of this type makes it possible to quickly convert the printed word into the spoken word. This particular application makes it possible for persons who are visually impaired to enjoy just about any type of reading material, including books that are somewhat obscure and may not be mass produced in an audio format.


The use of SSML goes beyond simply creating a collection of words that are pronounced correctly. Functions within the scope of SSML also allow for the introduction of pace, variance in voice level and pitch, and inflection. In some cases, programs created using SSML as the core application can also allow for the inclusion of regional accents. This function can be especially helpful with reading material that revolves around the unique culture of a given location, or involves characters with a particular cultural background.

Like all speech synthesis applications, SSML is intended to broaden the range of people who can make use of electronic communications. Because of innovations of this type, the Internet and modern communication technology can be effectively utilized by people with various types of physical limitations.


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